St James’s Day – 25th July

James was the first Apostle to be martyred in Jerusalem in AD44. His only crime was to preach in Samaria, Judea and Spain and for this he was stabbed to death by Herod Agrippa.

His relics were then taken to Compostela in Spain, which went on to become a famous pilgrim destination during the Middle Ages.

There are many places today where you can see the symbol for St James – a scallop shell.

The date also became important in Kent as it was the day on which the clergy traditionally blessed the apple orchards.

25th July is also the last day of the close season for oysters, which were eaten in huge quantities by the Romans.

The famous Whitstable Oyster Festival is held on the weekend closest to St James’s Day and each year the oysters are blessed as a gift from the sea.

The Friars at Aylesford – still a place of pilgrimage today for many of the Roman Catholic faith thanks to the Carmelite community who live there